I am now a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. I survived my first car seat check as a tech on Saturday, having previously worked at checks in a support capacity only.
Part of the class dealt with the liability I have taken on and that got me to thinking about the good old days when we just got in the car and went.
We weren't belted in as kids. We were free to sit on the floor, lie on the seat or kneel and look out the back window. If Dad took us someplace and Mom didn't go too, I got to sit up front. During the years that we had a station wagon we would go to the drive-in with sleeping bags in the back. After the first movie finished we'd climb into the sleeping bags in the back and drift off while my parents watched the second feature.
After my parents divorce we stayed with Dad during the summer in North Carolina. Some of the trips back and forth were made in the back of the pick-up truck. There was a cap on the back so we stayed dry and reasonably warm. We could play games or stretch out and read a book or catch a nap.
My first car was a '62 Buick LeSabre Convertible and I don't even recall if it had seat belts. I do remember there being nine of us in the car on more than one occasion and I'm certain if it had belts that it didn't have that many.
By the time my first child was born both of our cars had seat belts and we had bought a car seat but B went home from the hospital in my arms. We did put him in the car seat eventually. The kids stayed in car seats until their 4th birthday only because the law said they had too. I also remember many a quibble over whose turn it was to ride in the front. I have always made them wear the seat belt, although I did let them wear the shoulder belt under their arms. I don't remember exactly when they passed the law requiring front seat passengers to buckle up but that was when I relented and started wearing mine. Shoulder belts were always very uncomfortable for me and I've been known to make some creative adjustments to them that effectively made them useless.
In 1994 I started driving a school bus and my outlook changed. Back then all of the buses didn't have belts yet but I was forced to learn about passenger safety in all types of vehicles. Putting on a seat belt is automatic and I can't imagine riding in a car without one, even in the back seat. Of course technology has come a long way too and a shoulder belt is no longer a painful proposition.
What do you remember about buckling up?